COMMENTARY | The Minnesota Vikings have completed their first two preseason games with losses to the Houston Texans and Buffalo Bills. With two games remaining on the preseason schedule, the roster positions will have plenty of time for a shakeup.
Here is a prediction of the Vikings' 53-man roster for the 2013 season:
Notes: James Vandenberg, an undrafted rookie from Iowa, is likely the odd man out at the quarterback position. It will be interesting to see if anything happens to the depth chart over the next two preseason games.
Notes: With Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart locked to make the 2013 roster, the Vikings will be evaluating Matt Asiata, Bradley Randle, and Joe Banyard to be the third running back. Based on the first two preseason games, it is likely Joe Banyard secures the third-string spot.
FB-(1) Jerome Felton
Notes: Jerome Felton, a Pro-Bowl fullback from last season, had an emergency appendectomy during training camp to remove his appendix. Assuming he will be ready Week 1 of the regular season, the Vikings will have no need for a backup fullback.
Notes: Jennings, Patterson, Simpson, and Wright are all locks to make the 2013 roster, barring injury or suspension in the next few weeks. The biggest question is how many receivers the Vikings will carry on the 2013 roster. If the Vikings elect to stick with only five receivers, it is likely Stephen Burton, who has had a great camp and outstanding preseason, will beat out Joe Webb. Greg Childs is on pace to start the season on the PUP list.
TE-(3) Kyle Rudolph, John Carlson, Rhett Ellison
Notes: The Vikings will utilize the two tight-end set more often this year now that John Carlson is healthy and has had a full training camp. It is hard to imagine the Vikings using more than three roster spots on tight ends.
OL-(9) Matt Kalil, Charlie Johnson, John Sullivan, Brandon Fusco, Phil Loadholt, Jeff Baca, Joe Berger, Travis Bond, Brandon Keith
Notes: The Vikings will have the same starting five offensive lineman as last year. The depth could be shaken a little as Vikings GM Rick Spielman tends to lean on drafted players over veterans. Travis Bond will need to show better in the upcoming preseason games to make the final cut.
DL-(9) Jared Allen, Letroy Guion, Kevin Williams, Brian Robison, Christian Ballard, Fred Evans, D'Aundre Reed, Everson Griffen, Sharrif Floyd
Notes: The only change to the defensive line is adding first-round pick Sharrif Floyd. The Vikings have a lot of depth at the defensive line and will be releasing some players that will likely land on other NFL 53-man rosters. The only bubble player on this projection is D'Aundre Reed.
LB-(7) Erin Henderson, Desmond Bishop, Chad Greenway, Marvin Mitchell, Larry Dean, Gerald Hodges, Michael Mauti
Notes: The Vikings lost Jasper Brinkley in free agency and moved Erin Henderson to the "Mike" linebacker. Depth at the linebacker position often goes hand-in-hand with special teams, something Larry Dean does an exceptional job at. If Audie Cole wants to make the roster, he will have to step up in the special teams category.
DB-(10) Xavier Rhodes, Harrison Smith, Josh Robinson, Chris Cook, Brandon Burton, Bobby Felder, Jamarca Sanford, Anderson Sendejo, Mistral Raymond, Robert Blanton
Notes: Xavier Rhodes, a first-round draft pick out of Florida State, along with Chris Cook will give the Vikings two long and athletic corners on the outside. The biggest concern is who can try to replace Antoine Winfield as the nickel corner. Can Josh Robinson replace Winfield ? Or will the Vikings look to keep a guy like Sherels, who is a liability in coverage but an above-average punt returner?
Special Teams-(3) Jeff Locke, Cullen Loeffler, Blair Walsh
Notes: Blair Walsh made the Pro Bowl last year after breaking the NFL record for 50+ yard field goals. The Vikings then used a sixth-round pick in the 2012 draft to select Jeff Locke, the replacement for Chris Kluwe. All three are locks to make the roster barring injury.
*Start the season on PUP
Dennis Parsons is a Minnesota-area sportswriter covering the Minnesota Vikings for Vikings Central. He previously covered all Minnesota professional sports teams for Minnesota Sports News Nightly. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on twitter @Parsons_VC.
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- American Football
- Toby Gerhart
- Matt Cassel
- Jerome Simpson
- Adrian Peterson
- Jerome Felton